Jaycees, City, Chamber unite on social media to continue hometown tradition with holiday broadcast
Annual Farmington Holiday Tree Lighting will be different this year, but families will still be able to enjoy this festive Farmington favorite. The tree lighting will be a virtual event. It will be streamed online as part of a video broadcast highlighting everything that makes Farmington special during the holidays.
Traditionally, the tree lighting event has followed Holly Days and the Light Up the Grand Parade, which ends at the Governor Warner Mansion as hundreds of people crowd the yard to sing carols and help Santa light the tree. Due to COVID-19 public health guidelines, these in-person events have been canceled. Instead, at 8 p.m. on December 5, the City of Farmington will livestream a pre-recorded holiday special, filmed in downtown Farmington and at the Warner Mansion.
“This holiday season, we wanted to make sure our community would still have the holiday tree lighting, and to keep everyone safe, we decided to make it virtual,” said Steph Sedlar, 2020 president of the Farmington Area Jaycees, who are hosting the event in cooperation with the City of Farmington and the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce. “It isn't the typical gathering on the Governor Warner Mansion lawn that we are all used to, but in some ways, it's even better. You can watch it from the comfort of your home, and people who weren't able to make it out before can now see it. Community members have come together to make this holiday program special. We are so excited to share the holiday spirit with everyone, and while we may not be physically together, you all are in our hearts and minds. We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.”
The holiday broadcast will include footage from past lighted parades, a tribute to local heroes of 2020, messages from Farmington Mayor Sara Bowman and Farmington Hills Mayor Vicki Barnett, Christmas tree safety tips, announcement of the 2020 Farmington Area Jaycees Citizen and Business of the Year, and holiday demos of eats, treats, and gifts from Farmington-area businesses — all narrated by the Jaycees and the Greater Farmington Chamber of Commerce. Then, as he does every year, Santa Claus will read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
to Farmington’s children and young at heart. The program will finish with the countdown and lighting of the tree at the Governor Warner Mansion gazebo.
The program will be livestreamed at 8 p.m. on December 5 on the City of Farmington’s cable channels, website, and Facebook page, as well as the Chamber and Jaycees social media channels. Video will remain available for viewing after the initial airing.
Although there will not be an in-person event for the tree lighting this year, you are welcome to stop by the Warner Mansion gazebo anytime over the holidays to take a photo of your family by the tree.
New at the Warner Mansion this year is a mailbox for letters to Santa. Kids can bring their letters to the bright red Victorian mailbox on the Warner Mansion front lawn, and if a return address and a stamp are included, they will receive a reply in the mail. Please note that letters must be received in the mailbox by December 18 for a response.
The letters program is being run by the Farmington Area Jaycees, and the mailbox is sponsored by a generous donation from the Farmington Historical Society.
Also new for 2020, the Jaycees are holding the 2020 Holiday Lights Contest. Residents of Farmington and Farmington Hills can enter at www.fajc.org/holidaylightscontest.html
($10 entry fee, payable online) and upload photos that show off their holiday decorating skills.
“Since we can't have a holiday tree lighting in person this this year, we want to see your home light up the season,” said Teri Madigan, Farmington Area Jaycees.
Winners will be chosen by the community. Enter now through December 5 — then check back to vote. Winners will be announced December 30.
Photo: Connor Osborne (in elf hat), executive director of the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce, introduces a peppermint-bark-making demo by Missy LaRussa of Kitchen Creations. The demo is one of several features on holiday gifts and tips from Farmington businesses.
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